We had a super morning with the Garden Gang this month, and were delighted to welcome so many new volunteers who are interested in helping in the gardens. Our outdoors team, Matt & Charlie, rely on the help of these wonderful volunteers to keep the five acres of walled gardens looking loved. The Garden Gang currently meet on a Thursday and embody our flexible approach to volunteering; there is no commitment to come every week or to do particular hours- we think it is important that volunteering can fit people's lifestyles. 

We had a chat with some garden volunteers old and new to find out their thoughts about the Open Day and helping in the gardens at West Horsley Place, 

"It's a wonderful project to work on. The walled gardens are fantastic and historically, have clearly been very well maintained with wonderful architectural plants. What we need now, is a team of dedicated gardeners who can really get stuck in, have a bit of fun, really enjoy it. Quite a few people have been in touch with the Trust, expressing their interest in gardening. So we wanted to pull it all together and get everybody here for the same day. Matt set us a project for the day, which was to dig back the Mole Garden and restore it to its former glory. This started with cleaning and clearing, saving plants that are worthwhile. The next phase will be planning and replanting."

Paddy, Garden Volunteer

"I was interested to try helping in the gardens at WHP because I came to a ballet performance of 'The Secret Garden' here this summer. The gardens are beautiful, but look a bit tired- much like the secret garden that Mary discovers in the story, and I thought that this would be a great project to be involved in. I came to the Open Day to give it a go. I think it's amazing to be 'in at the ground floor' on a project like this; seeing it all come back to life will be marvellous. The Garden Gang is a great team of people with lots of different aspects and backgrounds- it's good crack! I'm now helping to clear a border in the Mole Garden; you do a bit at a time and eventually it all comes together!"

Clive, new Garden Volunteer

"I was out walking on the estate and saw people gardening at Place Farm Barn. It was a lovely day and I started chatting with them, found out they were all volunteers, and wanted to get involved because I love gardening. I was then walking on the estate another day and spoke to Matt (our Estate Ranger and Groundsperson) and found out about the Open Day. I really enjoyed the Open Day, it was very informal and everyone was very friendly. Lots of people didn't know each other, but that didn't matter- everyone just got stuck in. We were really made to feel welcome. Matt gave us this lovely tour of the walled gardens, he had so much information to share. I'm really looking forward to learning more about the history of the place. I'll definitely keep coming back. I really like that the Trust appreciate however much or little time you can give; you can come when suits and leave when you need to. It's very flexible; you can fit it around your other commitments but still have the chance to give a little bit back to your community."

Lesley, new Garden Volunteer